Animal education in the Antipodes

Veterinary education is a fast growing field of study across Australia and New Zealand. Dr Mark Lawrie, President of the Australian Veterinary Association explores veterinary study down under.

Australia and New Zealand have a strong and growing veterinary education sector. There has been expansion with three new veterinary schools being established in the last six years, bringing the total to eight.

Many graduates from this part of the world have contributed very significantly to veterinary practice and science globally. One of the most prominent of which is Nobel Laureate Dr Peter Doherty - a University of Queensland graduate in Veterinary Science.

All Australasian university veterinary science schools have access to farms, laboratories, hospitals, lecture theatres and computer facilities. They are well equipped venues for cutting-edge research, teaching and clinical practice.

The undergraduate degree courses provide training in diagnosis, imaging, medical and surgical treatment. Five of the veterinary schools in Australasia are accredited with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, which enables registration to practice in the UK, while four are accredited with the American Veterinary Medical Association which enables registration to practice in the USA. The postgraduate opportunities are very significant in two countries that value the need for research in a broad range of areas such as epidemiology, production science and animal welfare.

There is increasing focus on the area of “one health” with a strong heritage in biosecurity developed in this quarantine sensitive area of the world.

One of the great things about studying in Australasia is the opportunity to see more of these vast and beautiful countries. Australia and New Zealand have vibrant rural sectors as significant food exporters, very significant horse industries and first world pet industries as well as amazing and unique wildlife. Together with a sophisticated educational sector these “field opportunities” mean that Australasia provides a veterinary learning experience that is among the world’s best.

Campus life provides a unique experience for personal growth, networking and exploration of career directions. The relative small size of the veterinary cohorts affords undergraduates the opportunity to develop the lifelong friendships and collegiality that are hallmarks of the close-knit veterinary profession. There is strong and increasing interaction between the university veterinary schools and the veterinary profession in Australia and New Zealand, both of which are strong global players with significant interactions with the veterinary communities in Europe, North America and Asia.

Australasian university veterinary schools have achieved acclaim for their quality and effectiveness. Their programmes are distinctive because they engage students in active, practical learning and develop the essential attributes of independent scholarship and inquiry.

Australasian universities encourage overseas students to apply on a fee paying basis and provide one of the world’s highest standards of veterinary education. In general it is assumed that applicants will have an adequate level of knowledge in chemistry and mathematics. Physics and biology would be a distinct advantage, but it is best to contact the individual institutions for their respective requirements.

Veterinary Schools in Australasia

  • Charles Sturt University, Wagga, New South Wales
  • James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland
  • Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia
  • University of Adelaide, South Australia
  • University of Melbourne, Victoria
  • University of Queensland, Gatton
  • University of Sydney, New South Wales New Zealand
  • Massey University, Palmerston North

Written by Dr Mark Lawrie
National President
Australian Veterinary Association